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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 3
Now I have already said that Madame Eugenie Lalande -- that is to say, Simpson -- spoke the English language but very little better than she wrote it, and for this reason she very properly never attempted to speak it upon ordinary occasions. But rage will carry a lady to any extreme; and in the present care it carried Mrs. Simpson to the very extraordinary extreme of attempting to hold a conversation in a tongue that she did not altogether understand.
"Vell, Monsieur," said she, after surveying me, in great apparent astonishment, for some moments -- "Vell, Monsieur? -- and vat den? -- vat de matter now? Is it de dance of de Saint itusse dat you ave? If not like me, vat for vy buy de pig in the poke?"
"You wretch!" said I, catching my breath -- "you -- you -- you villainous old hag!"
"Ag? -- ole? -- me not so ver ole, after all! Me not one single day more dan de eighty-doo."
"Eighty-two!" I ejaculated, staggering to the wall -- "eighty-two hundred thousand baboons! The miniature said twenty-seven years and seven months!"
"To be sure! -- dat is so! -- ver true! but den de portraite has been take for dese fifty-five year. Ven I go marry my segonde usbande, Monsieur Lalande, at dat time I had de portraite take for my daughter by my first usbande, Monsieur Moissart!"
"Moissart!" said I.
"Yes, Moissart," said she, mimicking my pronunciation, which, to speak the truth, was none of the best, -- "and vat den? Vat you know about de Moissart?"
"Nothing, you old fright! -- I know nothing about him at all; only I had an ancestor of that name, once upon a time."
"Dat name! and vat you ave for say to dat name? 'Tis ver goot name; and so is Voissart -- dat is ver goot name too. My daughter, Mademoiselle Moissart, she marry von Monsieur Voissart, -- and de name is bot ver respectaable name."
"Moissart?" I exclaimed, "and Voissart! Why, what is it you mean?"
"Vat I mean? -- I mean Moissart and Voissart; and for de matter of dat, I mean Croissart and Froisart, too, if I only tink proper to mean it. My daughter's daughter, Mademoiselle Voissart, she marry von Monsieur Croissart, and den again, my daughter's grande daughter, Mademoiselle Croissart, she marry von Monsieur Froissart; and I suppose you say dat dat is not von ver respectaable name.-"
"Froissart!" said I, beginning to faint, "why, surely you don't say Moissart, and Voissart, and Croissart, and Froissart?"
"Yes," she replied, leaning fully back in her chair, and stretching out her lower limbs at great length; "yes, Moissart, and Voissart, and Croissart, and Froissart. But Monsieur Froissart, he vas von ver big vat you call fool -- he vas von ver great big donce like yourself -- for he lef la belle France for come to dis stupide Amerique- and ven he get here he went and ave von ver stupide, von ver, ver stupide sonn, so I hear, dough I not yet av ad de plaisir to meet vid him -- neither me nor my companion, de Madame Stephanie Lalande. He is name de Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart, and I suppose you say dat dat, too, is not von ver respectable name."
Either the length or the nature of this speech, had the effect of working up Mrs. Simpson into a very extraordinary passion indeed; and as she made an end of it, with great labor, she lumped up from her chair like somebody bewitched, dropping upon the floor an entire universe of bustle as she lumped. Once upon her feet, she gnashed her gums, brandished her arms, rolled up her sleeves, shook her fist in my face, and concluded the performance by tearing the cap from her head, and with it an immense wig of the most valuable and beautiful black hair, the whole of which she dashed upon the ground with a yell, and there trammpled and danced a fandango upon it, in an absolute ecstasy and agony of rage.
Meantime I sank aghast into the chair which she had vacated. "Moissart and Voissart!" I repeated, thoughtfully, as she cut one of her pigeon-wings, and "Croissart and Froissart!" as she completed another -- "Moissart and Voissart and Croissart and Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart! -- why, you ineffable old serpent, that's me -- that's me -- d'ye hear? that's me" -- here I screamed at the top of my voice -- "that's me-e-e! I am Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart! and if I havn't married my great, great, grandmother, I wish I may be everlastingly confounded!"